“I’ve shown flashes of consistency.” — Aaron Rodgers
“I’ve shown flashes of consistency.” — Aaron Rodgers
I won’t add much to what Andy’s written below for two reasons. First, this game is a microcosm of the Packers’ season. Virtually everything we’ve written after each of the many disappointing losses can be said here. Second, and this is rare, I agree with almost everything he’s written.
* On Aaron Rodgers: I think he’s had an incredible season. He is the 8th rated passer in the NFL. And he has done that with an offensive line that ranks, according to various rankings I’ve seen, in the bottom 10 in the league. Brett Favre, with a superior offensive line and a sometimes-dominant running game, is 18th. (That said, aside from Dustin Keller, Favre’s options in the passing game are weak compared to Rodgers.’) His big problem — and it is a big problem — is that he hasn’t learned how to win. And, at least at this point in his career, that’s the big difference between Rodgers and Favre. (Having said that, in at least two of the games we’ve lost, Rodgers has put the team in position to win.) If he can stay healthy, still a big “if” in my view, and with the receiving weapons the Packers have assembled, he will easily remain a Top 10 quarterback for several years.
* On the running game: Ryan Grant was not as good this year as he was last year. No question. But a few things to remember as some Packers fans/analysts throw him under the proverbial bus. Going into the final week of the season (and a game against Detroit in which he stands to do pretty well), he ranks ninth in the NFL with 1097 yards rushing this year. The more telling statistic, however, is his yards/carry average, which is down to 3.7 from 5.1 last year. (That number, while low, still puts Grant in front of Ladanian Tomlinson, Marion Barber, Willie Parker, and Joseph Addai – among others.) I attribute that primarily to two things: 1) his holdout affected his conditioning and his health and the hamstring injury was a bigger factor than we were initially told, and, 2) the offensive line played far worse this year than it did last year.
*On being 5-10. Judging strictly by their record, the Packers are worse than the San Francisco 49ers (6-9), as bad as the Jacksonville Jaguars (5-10) and almost as bad as the Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns and…wait for it…Oakland Raiders (all 4-11). The good news is that the Packers aren’t nearly as bad as these teams and, their woeful record notwithstanding, are probably one of the Top 15 teams in the league right now. That’s not to say they don’t have work to do in the off-season — they do. But the Packers have some top talent at key positions — Woodson, Collins, Kampman, Rodgers, Grant, Driver, Jennings, Jones — and much of that top talent is young. The problem is that so little of that top talent can be found on the offensive and defensive lines — positions that win championships.
But 5-10. That hurts.
(Officially and scientifically calculated percentages…) We’ve talked plenty here re O-Line problems and Grant not getting it done. But last night it seemed extra evident to me that FB John Kuhn wasn’t getting the job done either. I know it’s hard to account for players like LB Briggs, but on 2 obvious occasions, Kuhn couldn’t even get a chip block on him and both times, grant lost 2 or more yards. And there were several other plays where Kuhn seemed to arrive at the point of attack too late. Right now, no player acting as a FB on our roster was a FB in college. Maybe that’s the problem. Kuhn was a halfback and Hall was a linebacker. Also, our TE-acting-as-FB-experiment seems to be an ill-conceived one as we’re essentially asking our TEs to play another position. While conceptually it may not be a stretch to ask a TE to block because they do that anyway, it is quite a different thing to block in the backfield vs the line of scrimmage. Picking up a quality veteran FB may need to be an off-season task. (Though kind of like the offensive line, what seems weird about this year is that last year, FB deficiencies did not seem to be as apparent, if at all. Maybe Hall is good and Kuhn’s not…not sure).
(Side Note: One thing I found interesting from earlier in the year was some article I read about Tomlinson in San Diego openly criticizing the SD front office for getting rid of FB Lorenzo Neal in the off-season. Tomlinson said at one point he believes that move has cost the team hundreds of rushing yards this year.)
Despite the horrendousness, as it were, of last night’s loss, I am heartened by one thing: our readers. We have witty, astute and football-wise readers who comment here. As I was composing the previous novel/post on my Bears Game Thought, I kept reading reader comments from last night and the dead-onness, if you will and hilarity helped me get through writing such a critical/depressing post.
Sorry – Crosby’s kick was low. That wasn’t a “great push” as the announcers contended. That was his second low kick. That one is on Crosby.
For the record, Rodgers did his part to make that a game-winning drive.
We missed James Jones when he was out. He has great hands. That’s what we needed from Rodgers right there. Nicely done Aaron.
That 2nd down play would have been perfect for a screen.
It would be great if he could do it in a game like this. Come on Rodgers. The Packers can’t forget about Grant on this drive either. Screens and a couple sneaky run calls should be in order as the Bears will likely be thinking pass.
Pickett stopped Forte short – that was a homer, arbitrary spot.